JAMES Cameron's long-awaited Avatar sequel has reportedly been delayed for a second time after it was removed from 20th Century Fox's 2017 release slate.
The fantasy blockbuster, starring Australia's Sam Worthington, became the highest-grossing film in box office history following its 2009 release, and the director has been working on a follow-up ever since.
Avatar 2, the first of three planned sequels, was scheduled to hit cinemas in late 2016, but last year Cameron postponed the film's release until Christmas, 2017.
Now it appears fans will have to wait a little longer after it disappeared from the studio's list of scheduled releases.
Bosses at 20th Century Fox have yet to announce an official update and Cameron has not commented on the news.
However, when the project was last delayed, the studio's Chairman-CEO Jim Gianopulos confessed, "Jim Cameron has his own pace."
The filmmaker is planning to return to New Zealand to shoot the sequel back-to-back with Avatar 3 and 4.
Cameron hinted at the possibility of a delay during an interview with The Montreal Gazette in December.
"Christmas of '17 is the target," he said. "At least, that's what we've announced. But I don't consider that to be as important as the fact that when we get all three films done, we drop them a year apart.
"We have (the) design more or less finished, which is an enormous task. It's been about a two-year task. (We've finished) all the creatures and the landscapes, and the new worlds within the world of Pandora that you see. The writing is ongoing, but almost finished. Technical development is done. Stages are done. Infrastructure. So, we're really poised to start after the first of the year."
The move means Avatar 2 will no longer go head-to-head with Star Wars: The Force Awakens' follow-up, Episode VIII, which was recently pushed back from May, 2017 to December, 2017.
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